Conference Program


Quo vadis: inspirations, contexts, reception
Henryk Sienkiewicz and his vision of Ancient Rome

International Conference

Organized by:
The Polish Academy of Sciences – The Scientific Center in Rome
The Department of European, American and Intercultural Studies of The Sapienza University of Rome

in collaboration with The Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome

Rome, November, 14-15, 2016

Casa del Cinema, Villa Borghese, Largo Marcello Mastroianni 1
Istituto Polacco di Roma, Via Vittoria Colonna 1

Scientific committee:

  • Jerzy AXER, University of Warsaw
  • Tadeusz BUJNICKI, University of Warsaw
  • Luigi MARINELLI, Sapienza University of Rome
  • Piotr SALWA, Polish Academy of Sciences, Scientific Centre in Rome
  • Martin M. WINKLER, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
  • Monika WOŹNIAK, Sapienza University of Rome
  • Maria WYKE, University College London

Key-note speakers:

  • Maria Wyke, University College of London,
  • Martin M. Winkler, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA


November, 14
Casa del Cinema, Villa Borghese, Largo Mastroianni, 1

9.30 Welcome & opening

10. 00 Film screening: Quo vadis? (1901) (courtesy: Archives Françaises du Film, “Restauration CNC”, in collaborazione con CSC – Cineteca Nazionale)
Maria WYKE, University College London – Projecting the word: Guazzoni’s Quo vadis? (1913) as adaptation of Sienkiewicz’s novel

11.00 Coffee break

11.30-13.30 Session 1: The novel and its time

Adam ZIÓŁKOWSKI, University of Warsaw – Quo vadis and archeological discoveries in Rome in 19th century
Adrianna ADAMEK, University of Warsaw – Quo vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz. The ideological assumptions of the moment of the work`s genesis
Ewa SKWARA, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań – TUNICA, TOGA, STOLA. Costumes in Quo vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Joanna KUNICZUK-TRZCINOWICZ, University of Warsaw – A page from a novel – a novel on pages. The rough draft of Quo vadis among other manuscripts by Henryk Sienkiewicz

15.30-17.30 Session 2: Quo vadis and film adaptations

Jon SOLOMON, University of Illinois – Quo vadis and Ben-Hur in the United States, 1896-1912
Jonathan STUBBS, University of Cyprus – A more permanent world: Quo Vadis (1951), runaway production, and the internationalization of Hollywood
Monika WOŹNIAK, Sapienza University of Rome – “My wife, lady Pomponia” or how do the Romans speak in English, Italian and Polish film adaptations of Quo vadis
Anja BETTENWORTH, University of Cologne – Quo vadis: film adaptations in German context (Kawalerowicz)

19.30-20.30 Martin M. WINKLER, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA – THIS IS THE BIG ONE!’ QVO VADIS in Hollywood

20.30 Film screening: Quo Vadis (1951), directed by Mervyn LeRoy (in Italian)

15 Novembre
Istituto Polacco di Roma: Via Vittoria Colonna 1

9.30-11.30 Session 3: Quo vadis: Dialogue between the arts

Renata SUCHOWIEJKO, Jagiellonian University in Kraków – Jean Nouguès’ and Feliks Nowowiejski’s Quo vadis: Sonic Painting and Cultural Contexts
Piotr URBAŃSKI, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań – How to convert Quo vadis into an opera? Ivo BLOM, University of Amsterdam – Moving Pictures. Enrico Guazzoni's Appropriation of Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Jean-Léon Gérôme in Quo vadis? (1913)
Jerzy MIZIOŁEK, University of Warsaw – Sienkiewicz and Siemiradzki: The ‘dialogue’ between the art of painting and the art of writing

11.30-12.00 Coffee break

12.00-13.30 Session 4: Quo vadis in popolar culture

Raffaele DE BERTI, Elisabetta GAGETTI, University of Milan –The success of Quo vadis in Italy in the first quarter of the 20th century: illustrated editions and movie paratexts
Giuseppe PUCCI, University of Siena – Quo vadis in comics Katarzyna BIERNACKA-LICZNAR, University of Wrocław – Graphic Layout in the Italian Editions for Children of Quo vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

15.00-17.00 Session 5: Literary connections and reflections

Bartłomiej SZLESZYŃSKI, The Institute of Literary Research PAS, Warsaw – Quo vadis: crowds and spectacles. Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel as a critique of mass culture
Aminadav DYKMAN, University of Tel Aviv – Quo vadis in Hebrew and Yiddish
Ruth SCODEL, University of Michigan – Quo vadis and Roman History in America, 1897-1905
Luca BERNARDINI, University of Milan – Quo vadis and beyond: Henryk Sienkiewicz in Italy

17.00-17.30 Closing remarks

20.00 Film screening: Quo vadis (2001), directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz (subtitles in Italian)

Info and contacts:,

tel. + 39 06 679 21 70